The Round Lake Pipe Organ

By Jessica Pasko

The little village of Round Lake is home to one of the biggest pipe organs in the country. It's also one of the oldest pipe organs in the country.

Turns out the village once served as a Methodist meeting camp in the late 1800's. The organ lives in the Round Lake Auditorium, which at one time was used for church services. Today it's used for concerts, antique fairs, plays and other village events.

Organ experts will tell you this impressive instrument with it's massive array of sounds is a Ferris three-manual tracker, but really, do you know any organ experts? We don't either. So we checked into a few interesting details ourselves . Here's what we learned.

The Round Lake organ has 1,800 pipes and it's 34 feet tall.

In fact, it's so impressive that it's considered among the top 10 organs in the country, and one of the best specimens of church organs still in existence. People take it so seriously that it was even the focal point of the Organ Historical Society's \ 50th annual convention in 2006. The Richmond, Va.-based organization, is comprised of some 4,000 organ lovers from around the world.

Organ enthusiasts aren't the only ones raving about it though. Apparently it's so historically significant, it could get the auditorium it sits in declared a National Landmark. The organ was built in 1847 and brought to the tiny Victorian-era village near Clifton Park from it's former location in New York City's Calvary Episcopal Church. Historians believe it was probably the largest organ built in the U.S. up to that time.

Musicians love the sounds it produces so much that some have even recorded entire albums on it. OHS member Stephen Pinel of Burnt Hills says that part of what makes the organ so remarkable is that when played, "it's unadulterated. When we hear it, we're hearing the same exact sounds as would have been heard in 1847."

Although it's not the world's largest playable organ (that distinction belongs to the Grand Court organ at the former Wannamaker's department store in Philadelphia,) Round Lakers are still quite proud of their hometown instrument. They show it off each year with a series of summer concerts in the village's auditorium, a historical icon of it's own accord. If you want to know what 1847 sounds like, the first recital will be held on July 29th. Can't make that one, there are a few more scattered throughout the summer. You can find a complete list of organ concerts and other events at

Find It

The Round Lake Auditorium
2 Wesley Ave
Round Lake, NY 12151


I know I haven't been on here in a while, and maybe I've forgotten how to read (it's possible), but the first 2 lines of this story don't really make sense. Sorta redundant, no?

Yay! I'm pointing out possible flaws like a pretentious hipster! Now where'd I put my WEEN album...someplace ironic, I'm sure.

@Pants... yeah, we had a little bit of an adjective problem. It's fixed now. Thanks.

Not to disparage the Round Lake organ, but another focal point of the 2006 OHS convention was the rehabilitation and re-dedication of the Troy Savings Bank Music Hall's Odell Opus 190 organ.

(Full disclosure: I contributed to the above-referenced Wikipedia article.)

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